Canon Ambassadors: Jonathan & Angela Scott

The Canon Europe Ambassador Programme is a partnership with some of the world's greatest photographers, who are masters of their craft and who share Canon's passion for powerful imagery. Each month they describe the background to their photography and how they created specific photos.

Jonathan and Angela Scott are based in Kenya and are the only couple to have won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award individually. They have written numerous bestselling books but are perhaps most famous as presenters on the BBC television series 'Big Cat Diary'.

© Jonathan & Angela Scott. Canon Ambassadors
Shot on EOS-1Ds Mark II; Lens EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM, Exposure 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 200
"The golden hour around sunrise paints backlit patterns among the foliage."

You are, quite rightly, known as the Big Cat People. Do you feel that it brings a pressure to always deliver a specific shot?
"We love the fact we have become famous for our shots of lions, leopards and cheetahs. But there is so much more to our photography and when we plan our trips we make sure we have plenty of opportunities for other great shots too. We feel equally at home photographing penguins and icebergs in Antarctica or tigers in India as we do filming the wildebeest migration back home in the Masai Mara or covering a religious festival in Bhutan. It is all about planning ahead, and then being able to adapt to the reality on the ground.

"For instance, our latest trip to the Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan, India was at slightly the wrong time of year for stills photography - we had been hoping to be filming tigers for a TV series, with this just the first of a series of shoots. It was early in the dry season and didn't coincide with when the local tigers with cubs were at their most visible. We hoped for something more than portraits and knew that even with more than 30 game drives we were going to struggle to get a single memorable tiger shot.

"We planned what other shots we could take during our stay. We absolutely adore Ranthambhore and the other photographic opportunities are endless, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. So on some days when a tiger sighting was particularly unlikely, we asked our guide to take us to completely different areas of the park so we could shoot the wonderful birds and the landscape."

This shot has an autumn feel to it, does India have an autumn like Europe does?
"Living in Africa we are now very used to two wet and two dry seasons with no autumn, but India has four seasons including a monsoon and autumn. The warm colours certainly have an autumnal feel, especially when photographed early in the morning and with back light - a great way to create mood and atmosphere.

"Nowadays there is no excuse for being unprepared for the photographs you are hoping to take. Internet research will tell you exactly what the landscape and the weather will probably be like - and the best time to see tigers. It is easier to plan the shots you want and to figure out the best way to get them."

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Canon Ambassadors: Jonathan & Angela Scott